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Barcelona ‘held interest in Arsenal defender William Saliba this summer’

Barcelona ‘held interest in Arsenal defender William Saliba this summer’

Barcelona reportedly regarded Arsenal defender William Saliba as a potential transfer target during the summer transfer window.

Despite their well-documented financial issues, the Catalan giants enjoyed a proactive few months in the market as they made numerous high-profile additions.

Head coach Xavi was successful in acquiring central defensive duo Andreas Christensen and Jules Kounde, the former being signed from Chelsea and the latter moving to Camp Nou after rejecting the Blues.

With Barcelona’s interest then moving to full-backs, it meant that no further centre-backs would be arriving at the club, but it appears that they had other options on their shortlist had Kounde opted to move to Stamford Bridge.

According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Saliba was very much on Barcelona’s radar if they had been required to look elsewhere.

William Saliba in action for Arsenal in September 2022© Reuters

Although there was an insistence that the Frenchman would finally take his place in the Arsenal first-team squad, having just two years left on his contract arguably left the Gunners open to offers.

The North London outfit were in a position where they could have made a substantial profit on a player who had yet to represent the first team, a consequence of his starring role on loan at Marseille last season.

However, Saliba ultimately remained at the Emirates Stadium and has helped Arsenal hold a position at the top of the Premier League table after eight matches.

As well as featuring for every minute of those fixtures, the 21-year-old has contributed two goals and one assist, also helping his side possess the joint second-best defensive record in the division.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on September 18, 2022© Reuters

Saliba is now regarded as indispensable by head coach Mikel Arteta, leading to the club making an effort to extend the player’s contract past 2024.

Nevertheless, Saliba has hinted that he is currently in no rush to pen fresh terms, telling reporters: “Yeah, we will see. They talk a little bit. We will see.”

A previous report claimed that Saliba was prepared to consider his options given his current position at the negotiating table.

A wide range of clubs will almost certainly move for Saliba if he has not penned a new contract with Arsenal before the summer transfer window.

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